(cf. Rev. 18:1-3)
Chapter 18 is obviously the commercial aspects of Rome and maybe that’s where she got the idea of her pride. We see these commercial aspects in verses 3, 9, 11 through 19 and 23. Again the background is the Old Testament fall of some these great commercial cities who thought they were impregnable because of their wealth and luxury, and yet they fell. A perfect example is the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28, but also the fall of Babylon found in Isaiah 14:21, and Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51 is the obvious background, but particularly in this one is going to be Ezekiel 26 and 27, and Isaiah 23.
Now, “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority,” – a strong term used for an angel only here, “…and the earth was illumined with his glory.” – this is a very powerful metaphor for an angel, but we’ve seen some powerful angels in this book. “And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” – now this has been said several times in chapter 11:8; chapters 16, 19, 20, and all of 17 dealt with her fall. We’re looking at the same event from a little different perspective. “…She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.” – this is the Old Testament imagery for the fall of some of these ancient cities and how they were desolated. We found that these birds and animals that inhabit desolate places were used as the name for demons in some recent archaeological explorations. Now here are some of the very specific Old Testament backgrounds: Isaiah 13:21-22 of Babylon; Isaiah 34:10-15 of Edom; Jeremiah 50:39 and 51:37 for Babylon, and Zephaniah 2:14 for Nineveh, desolate inhabitants of demons.
Now notice as it says, “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her,” – it’s perfect tense, and here it speaks that they corrupted the whole world with their wealth, and pride, and opulence, and that’s the idea here. And the background of course is the worship of those national gods (beast worship). The businessmen (merchants) of the earth have grown rich from the wealth and luxury; and this seems to be the basic lure of this society. This theme is going to build up throughout this chapter.
(TO BE CONTINUED)